By Maui Now Staff
Members of the Shaka Movement  organized a rally over the weekend in support for a ballot initiative that seeks a moratorium on genetically modified organisms in Maui County.
The rally and march started at 11 a.m. on Sunday in the War Memorial Parking lot in Wailuku, and proceeded down Kaʻahumanu Avenue in Kahului to an area fronting the Kaʻahumanu Shopping Center.
Pro-GMO groups have claimed the initiative would jeopardize agricultural jobs  and the livelihood of others who do business with Hawaii seed companies. They also claimed the measure is poorly written and would be costly to taxpayers .
Anti-GMO groups had gathered more than 9,000 valid signatures  from the public in support of the moratorium. In an earlier statement the SHAKA group claimed GMO farming operations make up only 1% of the nearly 900 registered farms on Maui, and that no family farmers will be affected by the moratorium. Supporters claim there is misinformation circulating about the impacts of the initiative and encouraged the public to read the bill  and do their own research.
The rally comes ahead of the November 4 general election, in which voters will be given the opportunity to vote for or against the initiative.
As currently written, the ballot question reads as follows: Maui: Voter Initiative, Genetically Engineered Organisms: Should the proposed initiative prohibiting the cultivation or reproduction of genetically engineered organisms within the County of Maui, which may be amended or repealed as to a specific person or entity when required environmental and public health impact studies, public hearings, a two thirds vote and a determination by the County Council that such operation or practice meets certain standards, and which establishes civil and criminal penalties, be adopted for Maui County?
***For a full photo album from Sunday’s event, visit our Maui Now facebook page .